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Thomas AquinasFaith, Reason, and Following Christ$
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Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213146

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213146.001.0001

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Fides Quaerens Intellectum

Fides Quaerens Intellectum

(p.143) 4 Fides Quaerens Intellectum
Thomas Aquinas

Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt

Oxford University Press

Aquinas believed that human reason, unaided by revelation, not only tells us things about the natural world, but can provide an austere account of the existence of God. He also held that reason plays a vital role within theology. Indeed, it must have a role to play if sacra doctrina is to be scientia. Aquinas is not willing to say that holy teaching is simply a matter of believing a collection of bits of information that God has revealed. If it is true scientia, then reason must have some role to play in this activity. It must be a process of, to use St Anselm’s phrase, ‘faith seeking understanding’ (fides quaerens intellectum), in which understanding involves some sort of seeing-the-whole by grasping the interrelatedness of the parts.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, faith, theological science, theology, scientia, human reason

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